Golfer's Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis): Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s Elbow is a condition that refers to pain on the inside of the elbow. This pain is caused by inflammation of one of the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the elbow.

The pain occurs at the bony bump on the inner aspect of the elbow where the flexor tendons of the forearm attach to the part of the elbow called the medial epicondyle. Hence, Golfer’s Elbow is also known as Medial Epicondylitis.


What are the symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow?

Symptoms include:

  • Tenderness and pain in the inside of the elbow (main symptom).
  • Having less strength than usual when grasping items or squeezing your hand into a fist.
  • Pain spreading down your arm. Bending your wrist, twisting your forearm down, or grasping objects can worsen the pain.
  • Worsening pain when lifting a heavy object with your palm up.

What causes Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s Elbow can happen to anyone due to repetitive overuse of the common flexor muscles of the forearm or after a traumatic injury to the tendon.

The pain can be caused by the following activities:

  • Digging, gardening
  • Hammering nails
  • Bending the wrist
  • Squeezing a ball
  • Swinging a golf club
  • Swinging a racket forward
  • Turning a doorknob
  • Upper limb gym workout such as weight training

How is Golfer’s Elbow diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made based on various investigations. Your doctor will first evaluate your medical history and symptoms before conducting a physical examination.

Imaging test such as an X-ray may be ordered so your doctor can confirm the diagnosis while ruling out other injuries associated to the elbow.


How is Golfer’s Elbow treated?

Non-surgical treatments & therapies

  • Rest the elbow.
  • Apply ice or a cold compress to the elbow and inner part of the forearm to reduce inflammation.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises for the elbow muscles.
  • Elbow taping or Golfer’s Elbow strap.

Medications

Medications such as painkillers or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and inflammation.

Steroid injection

If you are not responding well to the treatments above, your doctor may treat your elbow with corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation.

Surgical procedures

Surgery is usually only considered if all other treatments have not been successful. It may involve removal of damaged tissue, scar tissue build-up, or extra bones that may be pressing on the tendon.

Depending on the type of treatment and need for surgery, recovery time ranges from 4 weeks to 6 months or more for severe cases.


Book an appointment at Pantai Hospitals

Early detection of Golfer’s Elbow makes it easier to treat the condition with effective and appropriate treatment. A dedicated and expert team of Orthopaedic specialists at Pantai Hospital is available for consultation to provide the best care and assistance. 

Get in touch with us to book an appointment today if you have concerns or questions regarding Golfer’s Elbow. We assure you the best possible care tailored to your specific needs.

Pantai Hospital has been accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) for its commitment to patient safety and service quality.

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